About John Maine

Sometimes I really, really, really hate when I’m right. For example, in regard to John Maine.

Loyal readers may remember this paragraph I wrote about a week ago:

“As mentioned more than a few times this season on MetsToday, John Maine has a minor mechanical flaw in his delivery that is causing his command to be off. If he keeps it up, he’ll have more issues than not throwing strikes – he’ll blow out his shoulder.”

As it turned out, he did not fix his flaw, and has since been diagnosed with “a mild strain of the rotator cuff”.

Of course, if you can find the time to read my dry postgame analyses, you would have read this Nostradamus-like prediction (items in bold added for emphasis):

Maine described his “shoulder tightness” as “a pain in the back of my shoulder”. That’s not good – the back of the shoulder is where the rotator cuff resides. John’s mechanical flaw that we covered last week IS without a doubt the reason for the pain. He’s slowly tearing his rotator, and the MRI will show at the very least a strain. Bet on this: the MRI will show something inconclusive, the Mets will describe the injury as either “a shoulder strain”, “a strain of the rotator cuff”, or “tendinitis”, and announce he’ll miss his next start. What they should do, is put him on the 15-day DL right away. What will happen instead, is John will assure everyone he’s fine, he’ll pitch through the pain, and damage his shoulder even worse – while pitching poorly.


Once in a while, I know what I’m talking about. Just pointing this out for those of you who count on MetsToday for intelligent analysis — you’ve made the right choice.

By the way, you can read more about why John Maine injured his shoulder, and how further damage can be avoided, by reading my article today on Gotham Baseball.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 July 30, 2008 at 9:35 am
    You called it, NostraJoseph.

    You’ve also been on top of Aaron Heilman’s situation over the past couple of seasons…..hopefully, his arm issues don’t act up down the stretch — provided he’s the only guy in the pen who’s capable of being trusted with multiple-inning stints.

    I’m not liking how the pitching is shaping up right now.

    Pedro = ?
    Maine = needs to be handled with white-gloves going forward; and
    Pelfrey = being monitored the rest of the way.

    Translation: a bullpen full of specialist-types will be taxed.

    Hope we acquire another arm between now and tomorrow’s deadline.

    Hope all is well, guys.

    – PK

  2. RockStar78 July 30, 2008 at 1:38 pm
    Joe, what is your opinion on the mechanics of the other starters? Who do you think has the best mechanics and has the greatest chance to stay healthy for the longest period of time? Would love to know what you think.
  3. joe July 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm
    RockStar, I can tell you that Ollie Perez’s mechanics scare the heck out of me, and if I were a GM would keep me from signing him to a long-term deal. Johan’s style is pretty good, and Pedro’s motion is fairly sound for his body type. I like Pelfrey’s mechanics, he takes pretty good advantage of his height using the classic “tall and fall” style that Nolan Ryan made famous. I like the way Billy Wagner uses his lower half, though his arm action — the way he cocks his hand near his ear like a catcher — is not something I’d ever teach to anyone. Still, it works for him and he’s been pretty healthy throughout his career.

    For the most part, I HATE 90-95% of the pitching mechanics in MLB. Nearly all pitchers these days do not take advantage of gravity nor their legs, and throw “all arm”. I use Tom Seaver and Ryan as the two “ideal” examples of pitchers who had near-perfect, sound mechanics, using their entire body efficiently. These days there are very few pitchers with great form — and that is the reason for all the arm injuries, not going over pitch counts. Among today’s pitchers, Greg Maddux is close to ideal.

  4. RockStar78 July 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm
    Interesting. I always heard throughout the years that Tom Glavine and David Wells had some of the best and most effortless mechanics. Maybe it’s because they never threw hard? I can’t even imagine what you think about Tim Lincecum’s delivery.
  5. joe July 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm
    Glavine and Wells are good examples of sound mechanics as well. Simple, easy, fluid motions, with good use of the hips / lower half. Actually both pitchers threw in the low 90s in their youth.

    Lincecum is really tough to figure. I’ve been looking at his motion since last year and trying to decide if it’s really as outstanding as his father claims. He certainly uses his legs well — very similar to the way Wagner and Santana do, with extremely long strides. It’s his upper body that makes me go “hmmm”. The arm action is violent, and the head tilt can lead to problems down the road. My opinion is that to use his motion long-term, Lincecum will have to sustain absolutely perfect timing — if one of the moving parts of his delivery are slightly out of sync, he might hurt something. Let’s say this: I wouldn’t attempt to teach that style to anyone right now. If Lincecum has a healthy, 10-year career, I might reconsider.